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Officer talks down suicidal teen, rescues her from drowning at Roche Harbor

CBP Officer Kevin Holmes points to the area where he rescued a teen, who jumped in the water in an attempt to drown herself over Memorial Day weekend. (Customs and Border Protection)

SEATTLE — A Customs and Border Protection Officer is being hailed for calming down a suicidal teenager and rescuing her last month at Roche Harbor.

On May 26, Officer Kevin Holmes responded to calls of a potential drowning happening at a nearby dock and found several people, including the 16-year-old’s grandmother, frantically trying to negotiate with her.

The girl was kayaking with her grandmother when she suddenly jumped into the water. She refused help from bystanders and pushed away life rings that were tossed to her.

Holmes asked a witness with a dinghy to take him closer to the teen, who was about 30 feet from the shoreline.

As they approached, the girl told Holmes she disliked police and refused his help, but he continued to talk to her, saying he wasn’t like other officers.

Holmes got into the water with the girl and continued to talk with her for almost 20 minutes.

Another witness jumped in the water and pushed the teen towards the officer. Holmes grabbed the girl and carried her to shore.

When they got back on land, the 16-year-old was showing hypothermia symptoms, and Holmes put his vest around the teen to keep her warm until an ambulance arrived.

She was transported to a nearby hospital.

“If it wasn’t for CBPO Holmes quick and immediate actions, this situation may have ended very differently,” said Thomas Barnes, Port Director for Friday Harbor.” I am proud to serve with him.” 

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